Astrid Øster Mortensen - Gro Mig En Blomst
Much needed re-press of Astrid Øster Mortensen's swiftly vanishing debut record, this time courtesy of great US imprint, Grapefruit. Gro Mig En Blomst seemed to arrive out of nowhere a year or so ago, and it still sounds distinctly alien now, and i still don't know much about the artist who made it despite her releasing another record under her own name and a collaboration as Klara Livet. That image on the sleeve seems to capture the tone. Wielding an experimental hand, Mortensen presents a kind of lo-res debased folk music, built around piano and acoustic guitar, and coloured in with various swathes of static, hiss and field recordings. Sometimes it drones, sometimes there's lilting reverie-inducing melody, as if Mortensen is working responsively and instinctively. There's a very Debordian sense to this kind of music making, so linked is it to its (psycho)geography, dancing between the 'soft' ambiance of both actual sounds from the city and an endemic Nordic folk tradition rebirthed anew amongst this latest generation, and the 'hard' ambiance of the harsher Swedish utilitarianism of the structures that surround it (not to mention Discreet Music at its centrepoint). As such, Gro Mig... is both brutal in its starkness and beautiful in its unlearned, piecemeal wonder, and in its surprise arrival, does speak a little of how and why Gothenburg is producing the music it is right now.
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